As the Gospel illustrated a month ago, Jesus chose Peter and the other Apostles to be "fishers of men" because He saw that the waters were filled with "fish" waiting for the message of the Gospel. Jesus used a different image on another occasion, when He observed that the fields were "white for the harvest," a harvest of souls (Jn.4:35). The preaching of the "gospel of salvation" meant that the people of the world would find their way to Heaven through faith in Jesus Christ, and baptism, by which they would become members of His holy Church.
The contemporary church speaks of a new age of evangelization. Sounds like hope for the millions, billions, who do not yet believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Lord. But recent Vatican and papal documents are not encouraging. The new evangelization means letting everyone know that they are already "saved" following one of the "paths" to the "common Homeland." Baptism is not necessary. Belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary. God calls everyone along different paths. Why require them to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost?
Because the way is left open by the preaching of an impotent pseudo-gospel, the fields which Jesus saw as "white for the harvest" are now being invaded by wolves and robbers. The neo-pagan "evangelizers" now have the field to themselves. Where are the true shepherds? Who would have thought that after two thousand years of Christianity, during which paganism waned into obscurity at the preaching of the Gospel, we would now be witnessing its triumphant return. Today many, especially among the young, seek forbidden knowledge and the power of spells and incantations, at the cost of-their souls.
The Canadian novelist Michael D. O'Brien writes in his article, "Harry Potter and the Paganization of Children's Culture" (Catholic World Report, April 21, 2003):
"Even the most cursory glance at what is available in children's literature and entertainment offers ample evidence that the paganization of the imagination is well underway. In the late 19th century there appeared in children's fiction a trickle of books that began the process of redefining Christian symbols and the presentation of occult themes in a favorable light. Until then, witches and sorcerers, an important element of traditional fables and fairy tales, were consistently portrayed as evil. With the advent of the occult revival (which entered the West primarily through certain British writers involved in esoteric religion) more and more material appeared that attempted to shift the line between good and evil. The characters of the 'white witch', the pet dragon, and the wise wizard became familiar figures. During the last quarter of the twentieth century the trickle became a torrent, and by the final decade before the Millennium it entered the mainstream of culture, powerfully augmented by the interlocking mechanisms of television, film, video, marketing techniques and spin-off industries, and applauded by a class of critics who told us that this was all a long-overdue broadening of our horizons."
Meet the neo-pagans. Children line up, their equally clueless and brain dead parents behind them, to purchase the latest Harry Potter novel, or to watch the new Potter blockbuster. Their horizons are so broadened that they can no longer discern right from wrong or truth from falsehood. Others are ardent fans of the Matrix movies, and their like. The Matrix movies are a New Age re-presentation of the ancient Mystery cults, mixed with Christian symbolism and Buddhism, an offering of incense to the gods, like the Greek god Apollo, and the Egyptian deities Isis and Osiris.
St. Paul speaks the advice the Church has always given: "…I say that what the Gentiles sacrifice, 'they sacrifice to devils and not to God'; and I would not have you become associates of devils. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils; you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord and of the table of devils" (1Cor.10:20,21).
Two friends, Augustine and Alypius, were followers of the Manichean sect, but were seeking the truth. They had agreed to avoid the bloody spectacle of the gladiator games in Carthage, but Alypius thought he could go with friends if he kept his eyes closed. Upon hearing the shouts of the crowd he opened first one eye, and then the other, until he was entirely hooked. He learned his lesson. The two friends are remembered as St. Augustine and St. Alypius.
In former times the Holy Catholic Church was a fortress against the onslaughts of paganism, humanism, heresy and unbelief. Jesus had warned about the false prophets who would abound in the end times, leading astray "if possible, even the elect" (Mt.24:24). Now there is no Index of Forbidden Books, no Legion of Decency. And where can one find the pope, the bishop, the pastor, who gives sound guidance, or who issues sanctions against those who endanger their souls by entering willfully into the occasions of sin? Today the "lambs" can wander anywhere they please, even into the domain of the Wolf himself. Why should they not believe that paganism is just another of the "paths" that lead to the "common Homeland"?
If we are unable to depend on the "conciliar church" or its troubled "pastors," or on secular authorities who legalize sin and remove God's Commandments from public places, we have two thousand years of traditional teaching by saints and popes. We have the Creeds, the Councils, and the Encyclicals of wise popes like Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Pius XI and Pius XII. And we have the Traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments. We are challenged by saints like St. Alypius, who lived in a pagan environment not unlike our own, to become saints. Renounce satan and his false prophets! Don't follow the mindless crowd, but go for healing to Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician, and Shepherd of Souls.
If we do not, if we choose to follow the false prophets of today we could well find Our Lord saying to us, what He charges the unjust steward in today's Gospel, "Make unto you friends of mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings" (Luke 16: 9).
If we stay true to Christ, we have no fear of being led astray by the false prophets of the new evangelization and one world new order. Let St. Augustine, friend of St. Alypius, have the last word:
"Bad times! Troublesome times! This is what people are saying. Let our lives be good and the times will be good. For we make our own times. Such as we are, such are the times. What can we do? Maybe we cannot convert masses of people to a good life. But let the few who do hear live well. Let the few who live well endure the many who live badly (Sermon 30, 8). Cling to the Lord with love, that your life may grow in the last days. Hold fast as well to the faithful,
great, certain, and everlasting promises of God, and to the unshakeable and ineffable gift of his forbearance" (Letter 248, 1).